by Duncan Elder
Thousands of people have been taken in by a fake Twitter account claiming to have been set up by Northern Ireland EuroMillions jackpot winner, Patrick Connolly.
Mr Connolly and his wife, Frances, from Moira, scooped a life-changing £114.9 million in the lottery’s New Year’s Day draw, and went public about their big win at a media event in the Culloden Hotel in County Down on Friday.
The couple revealed how they had drawn up a list of more than 50 family and friends who would be sharing in their good fortune – the fourth biggest ever lottery win in the UK.
Fake Twitter and YouTube accounts
That same day, a Twitter account was set up in the name of @Pat_conolly. The account carries pictures of Patrick and Frances Connolly and the bio says, “£115 million euromillions jackpot winner, family man, brexiteer and proud unionist.”
It also includes a link to a YouTube channel, which people are asked to subscribe to, and urges people to retweet, like and follow to be in with a chance of winning a share of the couple’s huge fortune.
Tweets from 4 January feature images and video footage of the couple celebrating their win at the Culloden Hotel. One post says, “As you all know me and my wife have won the £115 euromillions jackpot, we’re looking for 50 people to give some of the winnings away to, retweet, like and follow for a chance to win! #EuroMillions”
As you all know me and my wife have won the £115 euromillions jackpot, we’re looking for 50 people to give some of the winnings away to, retweet,like and follow for a chance to win! #EuroMillions pic.twitter.com/nREo0O9QAp
— Patrick Connolly (@Pat_conolly) January 4, 2019
It adds, “Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for an additional chance to win! We will be uploading some very nice holiday videos of me and my wife there soon!”
A pinned tweet, also posted on 4 January, says, “Thanks for all the support everyone, once my YouTube channel reaches 10,000 subscribers I’ll draw the winners! Good luck everyone!”
Thousands of people have been taken in by the fake account, which has attracted almost 46,000 followers in just a few days. At the time of publication, more than 4,200 people had subscribed to the associated YouTube channel.
Hundreds of people have left messages on the Twitter feed congratulating the couple on their big win, and many have posted pleas for donations for good causes, community enterprises and charitable projects.
Many others, though, have posted on the page to warn users that it is a fake account and urge people not to fall for the scam.
‘If something looks too good to be true, it probably is’
A spokesperson for The National Lottery confirmed that the @Pat_conolly Twitter account is nothing to do with the EuroMillions winners.
“The National Lottery, winners of The National Lottery and other lotteries are sometimes falsely imitated on the internet in a variety of ways – often to try to make people believe they are going to be entitled to money,” said the spokesperson.
“We would urge people to remember that, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Belfast News Letter